my favourite guilt-free products! including vegan choices!

I’ll start this with my usual disclaimer that I am not a vegan. I care very much about animals and reducing animal cruelty however I do consume dairy and recently have applied for jobs where I’d be working with animal produce so I would never take a title as careful as vegan or fully vegetarian because, lately, I feel like I would be lying to people and people who are actually vegetarian and vegan who are true to their ethics deserve a lot of credit because of how much good they are doing for animals and the environment. I do not want to be a liar. I am on my way to trying to become a definite ethical vegetarian, I haven’t eaten meat for 5 months aside two slip ups and I plan to try and learn a lot more recipes and invest in a lot more substitutes for meat. As well as this I definitely want to reduce my dairy intake! When you’re young and living with family, it can be quite hard to stick to a definite diet, especially when you are very much against food waste. Sometimes my parents will make me cups of tea without my oat milk and as much as I hate having dairy milk, I cannot reject and chuck it down the sink because I hate wasting food.

But like I said, I want to reduce my animal cruelty footprint as much as possible, so in the past year I’ve been changing a lot of things I buy for myself and I want to share some today!

First of all is definitely my Oat milk! The brand I buy is called Oatly! and I’ve been having it in my teas, coffees, cereals, porridge etc for months now. I think it tastes so much sweeter than normal milk and I’m definitely a fan of sweetness! I’ve also seen a reduction in spots and acne which is great! You can get a carton from most supermarkets and it is definitely a gorgeous dairy-free substitute to have. I believe they also do ‘cream’ and chocolate ‘milk’ however I have yet to try them!

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Next up is Nakd bars. I have mentioned them in one of my previous blog posts about starting college or university and I still stand by how much I enjoy them. They are healthy gluten-free snack bars made of fruits and nuts that come in a wide variety of flavours! You can find most flavours in a local Holland and Barretts, and supermarkets sometimes do multi-packs also! I used to order a big box on Nakd’s own website as you can get boxes that have one of each flavour so you can discover your favourite. They also do ‘oat’ and ‘crunch’ bars for protein and all of them are vegan! My favourite flavours are definitely Gingerbread, Cherry Bakewell and the Cocoa crunch ones!

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If you know me well, you’ll know how much I adore Lush Cosmetics. If you never know what to get me for my birthday or Christmas, just get me a Lush gift card! Lush are known for their amazing stand against animal cruelty and handmade products. Their website states they do not buy raw materials from any company that tests on animals for any purpose. I think their company is amazing and whenever I am looking for part-time jobs or retail jobs I always consult their website first because I’d love to represent them. Lush do so many products, some of which are vegan! Some of my favourite vegan products from them include their Rub Rub Rub shower scrub, Jumping Juniper shampoo bar (no plastic bottle means environmentally friendly!), Yog Nog bath bomb (I believe this might be Christmas exclusive, so grab it whilst you can!) and Dirty Springwash shower gel. If you’re vegan and a fan of lovely smell stuff I recommend going to a Lush store!

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My final favourite guilt-free product is very different from bathing products and food and is in fact a toothpaste! Currently I am very obsessed with Lush’s toothy tabs but my go-to toothpaste for the past two years has been… (drum roll)
Kingfisher Fluoride-Free Fennel Toothpaste! 
I have read a lot of articles about the dangers of fluoride and how it’s a good idea to reduce your fluoride intake so back last year I decided to invest in some fluoride-free toothpaste! I got the Kingfisher toothpaste from my local Holland and Barrett and have loved it since! I’ve never turned back to my old toothpastes and have stuck with Kingfisher! I’ve noticed a definite decrease in sensitivity in my teeth too! I used to have very sensitive teeth and sometimes even bleeding gums but I have not had that since this toothpaste change! The fennel flavour is very soothing and not too harsh on my mouth and you can also get Kingfisher toothpaste in mint flavours and aloe vera! Just make sure you double-check for the ‘fluoride free’ mark on the front! I have bought the Mint one before and enjoyed it also, but I find it harder to find that flavour so just stick with fennel! I love it so much!
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So yes those are my top guilt-free products! As I continue on my journey of swapping in guilt free products into my life I shall share them because I think we can all help in small baby steps!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x

my recommendation of delicious vegetarian options from well-known restaurants

This year I’ve recently decide to commit myself to becoming vegetarian. I have been wanting to do it for the past year but sometimes stumbled off the wagon especially around Christmas. However a month or two back I decided to definitely state myself as one. I told my family and friends that I was one so it wouldn’t seem strange when I asked for meat-free meals etc.

It’s been hard at some points, especially accompanying friends to places like McDonald’s where the chicken nuggets are addictive. However I’ve been really enjoying being vegetarian the past few months. I haven’t craved meat much at all unless I’ve been starving hungry and near it and even then it feels good to take the veggie option and consume extra vegetables. I remember hating vegetables as a kid but now I literally vacuum them up or get second servings of vegetables because of how delicious they are.

However, turning vegetarian is always difficult for people whom have grown up eating meat. Especially if you do not live alone and have control over what is bought in groceries. So I decided to get together a list of well-known restaurants/chains and tell you what my favourite vegetarian options are from each place! So next time you go and feel like taking the meat-free option, you can try these out and see what you think! I’m sure the farm animals will thank you.

DISCLAIMER: All of these options are vegetarian, not vegan. I can not confirm that any of these meals include dairy or other animal produce in their food.

PIZZA HUT

I do not visit Pizza Hut restaurants often but their Classic Veggie pizza is incredible and very filling. It has all the vegetables I love on it including sweetcorn, peppers and mushrooms. The flavour is so delightful and it’s what I always order when I go there. You can also dip into a bucket of fries for the table if you are out with friends or a date as they are also vegetarian.

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TGI FRIDAYS

I adore TGI Fridays. It’s one of my favourite restaurants, mainly for the atmosphere. I love the American diner style of the reds and whites and all the lights on the logo. When I go there I tend to order a Sizzling Veggie Fajita. The waiter brings you all the sizzling vegetables separate from dips and the tortillas so you can make the fajita the way you want and it is so delicious. Unfortunately there is no veggie burger option from TGI Fridays yet, considering how much I would adore the burgers back when I ate meat. I hope one day they bring out one because it’d be great to try. Their sundaes are also delicious and vegetarian. My favourite one is the Cookies & Cream one, as it includes Oreos which are so tasty!

CHIQUITOS

Last year I managed to find probably one of my favourite vegetarian meals from a chain restaurant in Chiquitos. I always rave about how tasty it was whenever people mention the restaurant and I definitely recommend it. This is the Veggie Volcano burger. It includes a veggie bean burger with mayo, five bean chilli, melted cheese and jalapenos. However because I really do not like cheese I tend to order this without the melted cheese, it’s still just as gorgeous!

WAGAMAMA’S

I have to personally thank my lovely boyfriend Will for introducing me to Wagamama’s as I had never gone to it before last year. It’s menu is very unique and there are lots to choose from on there so I was definitely able to find a delicious meat-free option for myself and the portions are so filling and big that even without meat, which is generally the stomach-filler of a main meal, I was unsure if I’d be able to finish meals from there. The Yasai Katsu Curry from Wagamama’s is so full-flavoured. Compared to the traditional Chicken Katsu Curry, the Yasai has sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash coated in panko breadcrumbs drowned in the aromatic curry sauce. It is so divine and delicious, that I’m actually craving it as I type! You can also get yasai steamed dumplings or wok-fried greens as a side to your meal which are also delicious vegetarian options!

TAMPOPO

Tampopo is very similar to Wagamama’s in atmosphere and cuisine however it was a visit to the Trafford Centre restaurant yesterday that inspired me to write this post! It was my first Tampopo meal and I had the delight of eating the Thai Style Vegetarian Fried Rice. There was so many different flavours in this meal and they all complimented each other. You can order this meal with chicken or prawn however with the vegetarian choice you get chunks of tofu which are just as delicious and go well with the egg, mushrooms, peppers and pineapple mixed in the delicious fried rice.

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SUBWAY

Although not really a ‘well-known’ restaurant. Since going vegetarian, Subway tends to be my go to place for ‘fast food’. When I go to a shopping centre food court where I’m surrounded by McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut Express, Gregg’s etc, I tend to go for Subway because the veggie options there are definitely the tastiest. My subway order may seem very mundane but to me it is very delicious and filling. I tend to have the bread as either hearty italian or honey oat. My filling is either a veggie patty or I like to go for the ‘veggie delite’, which is basically no filling thanks I’m just going to have a lot of veggies. (If you listen closely you can hear meat eaters judging me and moaning in the distance). I always get the bread toasted because it’s just boring without the warm, soft bread. Then for vegetable fillings I go for cucumbers, lettuce, red onions, green peppers, sweetcorn, grated carrot and jalapeno. I sometimes give or take random ingredients but I will always definitely have cucumbers, peppers and jalapeno on. So basically my subway order is a Toasted Hearty Italian/Honey Oat VEGGIE DELITE.  I do not tend to have sauce on it but that is mainly because I have never tried any of them which I should probably change soon. Don’t want to make my veggie subway more aesthetically boring than it already seems. But whatever people say I love it! I do also enjoy a Subway Rainbow Cookie as a treat, as I think they are vegetarian as far as I am aware. If I am wrong, I would love to be corrected, please!

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But yeah, that’s my recommendations for anyone who would like to try a delicious vegetarian option in any of these restaurants! Feel free to comment any other places or chains that do great veggie options! It’s useful for aspiring vegetarians!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x

animal crossing and it’s relaxing mechanics

Animal Crossing is a ‘community simulation’ game that is developed and published by Nintendo! I have been a massive fan of it since I was 10 years old. I remember my parents getting me Animal Crossing: Wild World back near my birthday in 2006 and I remember loving the game to bits. The game is very simplistic in the way it works however has improved greatly over the years and added more and more stuff to do in each newer version. So far I own the gamecube version, Wild World, City Folk and New Leaf! You could say the series is one of my top 5 game series and that’d definitely be right!

I decided to write about the game today because I recently picked up by 3DS again and started a new town on Animal Crossing New Leaf and I remembered how lovely and relaxing the game is for me now, even at 19 years old. The soundtrack to all of it’s games is so soothing and you never get tired of it. My favourite pieces of music from the series are probably these:

To be fair, it is very hard to pick just 3 or 4 favourites as I love majority of the music on all the games! So much so, I even have a google chrome extension that plays hourly animal crossing music if I turn it on!

I feel like the whole series is a perfect kind of handheld or console game for people who lead stressful lives, have anxiety/panic issues, depression or even just like games that let them forget about the busy world. I admittedly struggle with anxiety and stress myself so I can see the reason why I’m so drawn to the Animal Crossing series. The music is relaxing, the art style is colourful and eye-pleasing and all the things that you can do in your game is very calming in the way it can give you the feeling of accomplishing tiny things and the feeling of organisation and tidying.

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When I start a town on Animal Crossing I love to let my character talk to all the NPC villagers in the town, they all have different personalities and their automated conversations are mostly all positive and friendly. It’s a small and cheesy reason to love this game, but having phrases like “Isn’t it a lovely day today!” or “Good morning, remember to take a break!” shown to you as you play through the game are slightly uplifting to your mood. In a busy lifestyle you might feel you miss out on little things like being told ‘Have a nice day’ or that you seem happy or energetic and it definitely makes me get a warm feeling when playing Animal Crossing.

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You can also decorate your town as you play, collecting furniture from the game’s ‘recycle shops’ or even from calendar events, other characters, special visiting NPCs or using the game’s wi-fi to go to your friend’s towns and see what their town stores sell. Basically, it feels like you are making your own little unique, relaxation haven in which you can decide what happens. Obviously, only if this is how you want to play your game – I love seeing other town designs and how some people base there’s on horror towns or just everything goes!

To get in-game currency, after collecting ‘basic equipment’ like fishing rod, a net, watering can, shovel, axe and a slingshot, you can start to explore your town and help (or destroy) the environment and the town museum. You do this by collecting bugs in your net that you can free, sell for coins or donate to the town museum. That also goes for fossils that you dig up or fish you catch. It’s very traditional ways to get money which suits the game’s style and it makes it very fun and you get so lost in it that it relaxes you. Being able to finish off a complete dinosaur fossil at the museum or collecting favourite bugs or fish to give to villagers is like a tiny accomplishment and makes you feel good. Using your watering can to create a bed of pretty flowers in your town is also a lovely feeling.

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A lot of gamers now seem to be cautious of playing ‘casual games’. This is very ingrained by the idea of ‘proper games need violence/guns/story-telling’, which is mostly likely influenced by what games are popular on the market currently like Call of Duty, Halo and Grand Theft Auto. Nothing is wrong with playing a game that does not include violence, weapons or a story. Some of the best games in history don’t have any of these. Think of the Sims series, Super Mario, Tetris, Pac-Man, Pokemon etc. etc.
Nothing is wrong with games with violence and guns though, I do love using weird, corrosive rocket launchers on the Borderlands series or using magic to defeat enemies in Dragon Age. But if any gamer ever wants to try a ‘casual’ game on the Nintendo platforms, I’d definitely recommend trying out Animal Crossing New Leaf.

So yeah, that’s my recommendation of the day! Also have a look at the trailer for the upcoming Animal Crossing spin-off game Happy Home Designer, coming out October 2nd in Europe!

Thanks for reading,

Lenah x x